Grazing: Cocoa Beans Save the Day | Bite Club

Grazing: Cocoa Beans Save the Day

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A spate of new businesses is moving into Montpelier, into spaces owned by Montpelier Property Management. I'm sure it's welcome news to most everyone in town. Yet I've eagerly anticipated one in particular — Chill, the brand new gelato place at 32 State Street.

So I went down Tuesday to check it out. The best-laid plans: Chill is only open from Thursday to Monday, at least until spring. Through the window, I could see the gelato flavors scrawled on a chalkboard — hazelnut, stracciatella with roasted cherries, "Mint-pelier" — as well as lemon and pear-anise sorbets. Sigh. It would have to wait for another day.

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Next door, fortunately, a similarly tantalizing operation is in full swing — Cocoa Bean at 40 State, which also opened a few weeks ago. Inside the airy space, the smell of chocolate layers the air, and two cases are loaded with truffles, barks, caramel-filled chocolates, pumpkin- and moose-shaped pops and free samples of glossy dark and milk chocolate leaves.

Owners Wally and Jane Delia used to own Vermont Chocolatiers, and they clearly have a way with Belgian chocolate: A maple-cayenne truffle pulsates with gentle heat; an espresso truffle packs the tannic wallop of a dozen morning coffees. I'm usually not much for barks, but couldn't resist a dark-chocolate shard studded with wasabi peas; each bite is a jumble of cocoa, salt and spice.

The piece de résistance, though, is among the simplest of creations: a smear of peanut butter encased in a robe of supple dark chocolate. In other words, a dark-chocolate peanut butter cup. Ever had one of those? You'll never seek out a Reese's again, fo shizz.

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